This Month in Marine Corps History: April

Learn about the Corps

The following events from Marine Corps history took place in April:


3rd Amphibious Corps Progresses on Okinawa
*Image info: A Marine assault team moves out on Okinawa in the Spring of 1945.
(USMC photo/released)

 

3rd Amphibious Corps Progresses on Okinawa

On April 3, 1945, Marines with the 3rd Amphibious Corps continued to progress along their front on the Japanese island of Okinawa, clearing Zampa Misaki and seizing the Katchin Peninsula. This effectively cut the island in two, and was accomplished more than a week ahead of the schedule originally set by Marine Corps leaders.


1st Marine Division Clashes with Communist Chinese Forces
*Image info: 1st Marine Division insignia.

 

1st Marine Division Clashes with Communist Chinese Forces

On April 5, 1947, five Marine guards were killed and eight more were wounded during an attack by Communist Chinese forces near the Hsin Ho ammunition depot in northern China. This was the last major clash between the 1st Marine Division and Communist Chinese forces and occurred just four days after the 1st Division and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing had received their withdrawal and redeployment plans from China on April 1.


Lieutenant Colonel John H. Glenn Selected for Space Training
*Image info: John H. Glenn, Jr. (USMC photo/released.)

 

Lieutenant Colonel John H. Glenn Selected for Space Training

On April 10, 1959, Lieutenant Colonel John H. Glenn, Jr. was named as one of the original seven Project Mercury astronauts selected for space training. All seven astronauts were volunteers and were selected by NASA out of a pool of 110 candidates, all of whom were leading military test pilots. Just under three years later, in February of 1962, Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth.


4th Marine Brigade Attacked in Verdun, France
*Image info: Aerial view of Fort Douaumont, the largest of the 19 forts protecting the town of Verdun, France, prior to the battle. (image released)

 

4th Marine Brigade Attacked in Verdun, France

During the late night and early morning hours of April 12-13, 1918, the 4th marine Brigade suffered its first gas attack by German forces. In the attack, German forces bombarded the 74th Company, 6th Marines near Verdun, France with mustard gas. Nine Marine officers and 305 enlisted Marines were gassed during the attack and evacuated. 30 Marines were killed in the attack.


Joe Foss Born
*Image info: Joe Foss
(USMC photo/released.)

 

Joe Foss Born

On April 17, 1915, future Medal of Honor recipient Joseph "Joe" Foss, was born in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

In 1940, Foss joined the Marine Corps as a pilot, and went on to become a leading American "ace" during World War II. During his time in the Corps, Foss won 26 aerial victories and received numerous awards, including the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Medal of Honor for his actions over Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands where he recorded 23 confirmed (and numerous other probable) kills in just over a month between October and November of 1942.

Following his time in the military, Foss had a number of jobs, including serving as the 20th Governor of South Dakota, the Commissioner of the American Football League, and the President of the National Rifle Association. He died in Arizona in 2003 at the age of 87.


Marine Security Guard Killed in Lebanon
*Image info: The U.S. Embassy three days after the bombing
(USMC photo/released)

 

Marine Security Guard Killed in Lebanon

On April 18, 1983, more than 60 people, including 17 Americans, were killed when a car bomb exploded outside the U.S. Embassy in Beirut, Lebanon. Among those killed was Marine Security Guard Lance Corporal Robert McMaugh, who was later buried at Arlington National Cemetery. A further seven Marine Security Guards were wounded in the explosion.


Marine Aviators See First Action in Korean War
*Image info: The USS Bataan in January 1952 in preparation for her second Korean War deployment.
(U.S.Navy photo/released)

 

Marine Aviators See First Action in Korean War

On April 21, 1951, carrier-based Marine airplanes made their first contact with enemy planes over North Korea. Captain Philip C. Delong shot down two YAK fighters and 1st Lieutenant Harold D. Daigh destroyed one more and damaged another near Pyongyang. Both pilots were with VMF-312 flying from the USS Bataan.


Merritt
*Image info: Merritt Edson.
(USMC photo/released)

 

Merritt "Red Mike" Edson Born

On April 25, 1897, future Medal of Honor recipient Merritt "Red Mike" Edson was born in Chester, Vermont.

In October 1917, Edson received his commission as a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps, and served in France and Germany during World War I. Following the war, Edson held several positions before going to flight school in 1922. After graduating flight school and being designated a Naval Aviator, he performed several assignments in Central America and China.

When World War II broke out, Edson was assigned as the Commanding officer of the Marine Raiders. While commanding Marine Raiders on Guadalcanal, Edson earned the Medal of Honor for the defense of Lunga Ridge on September 13-14, 1942. During the battle, Edson's Raider Battalion, along with two companies of the 1st Parachute Battalion, were assigned to defend Lunga Ridge, a short distance south of Henderson Field in what was supposed to be a relatively uneventful mission.

On the first evening of the mission, 2,500 Japanese forces unexpectedly attacked Edson and the approximately 800 Marines under his command. Edson and his Marines withstood repeated assaults by the Japanese, despite sustaining 256 casualties. After the battle, Edson was awarded the Medal of Honor for his, "extraordinary heroism and conspicuous intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty..."

Edson retired from the Marine Corps in 1947, after being promoted to the rank of Major General. Following his time in the Corps, Edson became the first Commissioner of the Vermont State Police before later serving as the Executive Director of the National Rifle Association. In addition to the Medal of Honor, Edson also earned two Navy Crosses, the Silver Star, and two Legions of Merit during his time in the Corps.


American Flag Raised Over Derne
*Image info: Presley O'Bannon.
(USMC image/released)

 

American Flag Raised Over Derne

On April 27, 1805, First Lieutenant Presley O'Bannon and seven other Marines, along with Greek and Arab forces, who were under the command of American Consul William Eaton raised the American flag over the fortress at Derne, a pirate stronghold in Tripoli. This was the first time the American flag had been raised over a conquered fortress in the Old World. Two Marines were killed and another was injured in the assault on the city.


A-6E Intruder Departed from Marine Corps Service
*Image info: A USMC Grumman A-6E Intruder.
(USMC image/released)

 

A-6E Intruder Departed from Marine Corps Service

On April 28, 1993, the last A-6E Intruder was decommissioned from Marine Corps service. All-Weather Attack Squadron 332 transferred the last Marine A-6E to St. Augustine, Florida, and prepared for the squadron's transition to the F/A-18D and relocation from Cherry Point to Beaufort, South Carolina.


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